Special Issue "Interventions and Approaches to Optimize Immunization Coverage Across the Lifespan"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Global Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (10 April 2018).

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Paula M. Frew Website E-Mail
Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, Emory University School of Medicine, 1760 Haygood Road, Suite W300, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues:

We are organizing a Special Issue on novel approaches toward the improvement of and sustainment of optimal immunization coverage across the lifespan in the International of Environmental Research and Public Health. The venue is a high visibility, peer-reviewed scientific journal that is indexed by the Science Citation Index Expanded (Web of Science), Social Sciences Citation Index (Web of Science), MEDLINE (PubMed) and other databases. The journal rapidly publishes articles and communications related to public health, medicine, and social determinants of health. For detailed information on the journal, we refer you to https://www.mdpi.com/journal/ijerph. 

As you know, improving and sustaining immunization coverage is an important global objective that we share. With uneven rates of vaccine uptake across the human lifespan, there is a need for strong evidence to guide immunization discussions with patients and special populations on immunization topics. Therefore, this special issue is seeking studies focused on specific immunization interventions tested across the lifespan (i.e., maternal, pediatric, adolescent, young adult, adult, to elderly). We also seek pieces that address novel immunization interventional approaches tested with specific populations (e.g., college populations, men who have sex with men). Those that offer insight on the role of social determinants of health in shaping immunization uptake and coverage are also welcomed. The research insights we seek for this issue will provide value to providers, programs, professional organizations, and policymakers who may ultimately be able to implement and sustain such approaches for maximal impact.

This Special Issue is open to any subject area related to the impacts of novel interventional approaches on immunization uptake and coverage. The listed keywords suggest just a few of the many possibilities.

Dr. Paula M. Frew
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Vaccine coverage
  • Immunization
  • Public health
  • Vaccine promotion
  • Vaccine acceptance
  • Vaccine uptake
  • Vaccine hesitancy
  • Vaccine delay
  • Vaccine refusal
  • Vaccine confidence
  • Vaccine communication
  • Vaccine education
  • Vaccine decision-making
  • Immunization programs
  • Immunization systems
  • Vaccine-preventable illnesses
  • Special populations
  • Social determinants of health
  • Environmental issues affecting immunization coverage
  • Addressing environmental disruptions in immunization delivery

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Willingness to Participate in Vaccine-Related Clinical Trials among Older Adults
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(8), 1743; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15081743 - 14 Aug 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
The purpose of this study is to understand among a convenience sample of 400 adults aged 60 years of age or older (1) reasons for being willing or unwilling to participate in a vaccine clinical research study and (2) overall perceptions about vaccine [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study is to understand among a convenience sample of 400 adults aged 60 years of age or older (1) reasons for being willing or unwilling to participate in a vaccine clinical research study and (2) overall perceptions about vaccine clinical research. A cross-sectional study using a sample of older adults residing in the metro-Atlanta area and surrounding neighborhoods was conducted. The study questionnaire contained 37 questions, including questions about socio-demographics and perceptions about clinical trial processes. Statistical analysis was conducted using logistic regression. The adjusted modeling results indicated that sex, distance to research clinic, and being informed about the research findings played a role in the likelihood of an elderly person participating in a vaccine study. Males were more likely to participate in clinical trials as compared to females (OR: 2.486; CI: 1.042–5.934). Most participants were willing to travel up to 25 miles from the research clinic. Of the respondents, 45% were unlikely to participate if the results of the current trial are not shared. Improving access to clinical trials in terms of distance traveled and ensuring streamlined processes to inform participants about the results of the trial in the future would increase willingness to participate in vaccine clinical trials. The survey could serve as a useful tool for conducting vaccine studies and other clinical trials by understanding the barriers specific to the elderly. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Social Basis of Vaccine Questioning and Refusal: A Qualitative Study Employing Bourdieu’s Concepts of ‘Capitals’ and ‘Habitus’
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(5), 1044; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15051044 - 22 May 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
This article is an in-depth analysis of the social nature of vaccine decision-making. It employs the sociological theory of Bourdieu and Ingram to consider how parents experience non-vaccination as a valued form of capital in specific communities, and how this can affect their [...] Read more.
This article is an in-depth analysis of the social nature of vaccine decision-making. It employs the sociological theory of Bourdieu and Ingram to consider how parents experience non-vaccination as a valued form of capital in specific communities, and how this can affect their decision-making. Drawing on research conducted in two Australian cities, our qualitative analysis of new interview data shows that parents experience disjuncture and tugs towards ‘appropriate’ forms of vaccination behavior in their social networks, as these link to broader behaviors around food, school choices and birth practices. We show how differences emerge between the two cities based on study designs, such that we are able to see some parents at the center of groups valorizing their decisions, whilst others feel marginalized within their communities for their decisions to vaccinate. We draw on the work of philosopher Mark Navin to consider how all parents join epistemic communities that reward compliance and conformity with the status quo and consider what this means for interventions that seek to influence the flow of pro-vaccine information through vaccine-critical social groups. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Increased Vaccination Coverage among Adolescents and Young Adults in the District of Palermo as a Result of a Public Health Strategy to Counteract an ‘Epidemic Panic’
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(5), 1014; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15051014 - 17 May 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
During the summer of 2016 four cases of invasive meningococcal disease in rapid succession among young adults in the district of Palermo, Italy, resulting in one death, were widely reported by local and national mass media. The resultant ‘epidemic panic’ among the general [...] Read more.
During the summer of 2016 four cases of invasive meningococcal disease in rapid succession among young adults in the district of Palermo, Italy, resulting in one death, were widely reported by local and national mass media. The resultant ‘epidemic panic’ among the general population overloaded the vaccination units of the Palermo district over the following months. Strategies implemented by the Sicilian and local public health authorities to counteract ‘meningitis fear’ included the following: (a) extension of active and free-of-charge anti-meningococcal tetravalent vaccination from age class 12–18 to 12–30 years old; (b) implementation of vaccination units during normal clinic hours in rooms tailored for vaccine administration; (c) development of informative institutional tools and timely communication throughout local mass media to reassure the general population. In 2016, an increase in the anti-meningococcal coverage was observed in the Palermo district (+18% for 16-year-olds and +14% for 18-year-olds) and at the regional level (+11.2% and +13.5%, respectively). Concurrent catch-up of other recommended vaccinations for age (diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis-poliomyelitis and papillomavirus) resulted in a further increase of administered doses. The fear of meningitis, managed by the Sicilian public health authorities, had positive impacts in terms of prevention. In particular, the communication strategies that were adopted contributed to educating Sicilian young adults about vaccination issues. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Factors Associated with Immunization Opinion Leadership among Men Who Have Sex with Men in Los Angeles, California
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(5), 939; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15050939 - 08 May 2018
Abstract
We sought to identify the characteristics of men who have sex with men (MSM) who are opinion leaders on immunization issues and to identify potential opportunities to leverage their influence for vaccine promotion within MSM communities. Using venue-based sampling, we recruited and enrolled [...] Read more.
We sought to identify the characteristics of men who have sex with men (MSM) who are opinion leaders on immunization issues and to identify potential opportunities to leverage their influence for vaccine promotion within MSM communities. Using venue-based sampling, we recruited and enrolled MSM living in Los Angeles (N = 520) from December 2016 to February 2017 and evaluated characteristic differences in sociodemographic characteristics, health behaviors, and technology use among those classified as opinion leaders versus those who were not. We also asked respondents about their past receipt of meningococcal serogroups A, C, W, and Y (MenACWY) and meningococcal B (MenB) vaccines, as well as their opinions on the importance of 13 additional vaccines. Multivariable results revealed that non-Hispanic black (aOR = 2.64; 95% CI: 1.17–5.95) and other race/ethnicity (aOR = 2.98; 95% CI: 1.41–6.29) respondents, as well as those with a history of an STI other than HIV (aOR = 1.95; 95% CI: 1.10–3.48), were more likely to be opinion leaders. MenACWY (aOR = 1.92; 95% CI: 1.13–3.25) and MenB (aOR = 3.09; 95% CI: 1.77–5.41) vaccine uptake, and perceived importance for these and seven additional vaccines, were also associated with being an opinion leader. The results suggest that the co-promotion of vaccination and other health promotion initiatives via opinion leaders could be a useful strategy for increasing vaccination among MSM. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Factors Associated with HPV Vaccine Refusal among Young Adult Women after Ten Years of Vaccine Implementation
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(4), 770; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15040770 - 17 Apr 2018
Cited by 10
Abstract
In Italy, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination was implemented for twelve years old girls in 2007, but its coverage was lower than the recommended level. Sicily is one of the Italian administrative regions with lower vaccination coverage, with a value of 59% for [...] Read more.
In Italy, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination was implemented for twelve years old girls in 2007, but its coverage was lower than the recommended level. Sicily is one of the Italian administrative regions with lower vaccination coverage, with a value of 59% for those born in 1996 increasing to 62% coverage for those born in 1999. The aim of the study was to investigate factors associated with the refusal of HPV vaccination among young adult women of Palermo, Italy. The study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Policlinico “Paolo Giaccone” Hospital (Palermo 1) and the questionnaire was validated in a convenience sample representing 10% of the young women. A cross-sectional study was conducted through the administration of a telephone questionnaire, consisting of 23 items on HPV infection and vaccination knowledge based on the Health Belief Model framework. The eligible population were young women (18–21 years old) who had at least a vaccination among all included in the Sicilian vaccination schedule, without starting or completing HPV vaccination. Overall, 141 young women were enrolled (response rate 22%). Among them, 84.4% were unvaccinated and 15.6% had at least one dose of the HPV vaccine. In multivariate analysis, the factors associated with the refusal of the HPV vaccination were a bachelor’s as the education level (OR = 10.2, p = 0.041), lower participation at school seminar on HPV (OR = 0.2, p = 0.047) and lower perception of HPV vaccine benefits (OR = 0.4, p = 0.048). Public health educational program focusing and tailored on benefits perception of HPV vaccine and HPV disease severity, carried out at school or during medical visits, can be useful to improve HPV vaccination uptake. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Understanding and Increasing Influenza Vaccination Acceptance: Insights from a 2016 National Survey of U.S. Adults
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(4), 711; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15040711 - 10 Apr 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Background: The percentage of adults in the U.S. getting seasonal influenza vaccination has not changed significantly since 2013 and remains far below the federal government’s 70% target. Objective: This study assessed and identified characteristics, experiences, and beliefs associated with influenza vaccination [...] Read more.
Background: The percentage of adults in the U.S. getting seasonal influenza vaccination has not changed significantly since 2013 and remains far below the federal government’s 70% target. Objective: This study assessed and identified characteristics, experiences, and beliefs associated with influenza vaccination using a nationally representative survey of 1005 U.S. adults 19 years old and older. Methods: The sample was drawn from the National Opinion Research Center’s AmeriSpeak Panel, a probability-based panel designed to be representative of the U.S. household population. Results: Overall, 42.3% received an influenza vaccination in the past 12 months, with rates highest for non-Hispanic Whites and Blacks and those 65 years old and older. Hispanic respondents and those under 64 years old were much less likely to get an influenza vaccination. They were also less aware of the recommendation, less informed about influenza and the benefits of vaccination, and least confident in the vaccine. Conclusions: Increasing influenza vaccination coverage in the U.S. requires a greater focus on 19–64 year-olds, particularly those 50 to 64, Hispanics and continued focus on those with diabetes and asthma. Efforts need to increase awareness of influenza vaccination recommendations, foster a sense of being well informed about influenza vaccination benefits and the risks associated with non-vaccination, and increase confidence that there are meaningful benefits from receiving an influenza vaccination. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Relationship of Health Beliefs with Information Sources and HPV Vaccine Acceptance among Young Adults in Korea
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(4), 673; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15040673 - 04 Apr 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Despite the HPV vaccine’s efficacy in preventing cervical cancer, its coverage rates among Asians are very low. To increase immunization coverage among these populations, understanding the psychological factors that affect HPV acceptability is critical. To this end, this study examined the relationships between [...] Read more.
Despite the HPV vaccine’s efficacy in preventing cervical cancer, its coverage rates among Asians are very low. To increase immunization coverage among these populations, understanding the psychological factors that affect HPV acceptability is critical. To this end, this study examined the relationships between multidimensional health beliefs and HPV vaccine acceptance, and what information sources effectively foster HPV vaccination-related health beliefs. Data were collected using a survey of 323 undergraduate students in Korea. Results showed that perceived susceptibility, perceived severity, perceived benefits, and perceived vaccine safety concerns predicted vaccine acceptance. Multiple dimensions of perceived barriers showed differing impacts on vaccine acceptance. In addition, interpersonal information sources were effective in boosting various health beliefs for HPV vaccination. The Internet also was effective in reducing social barriers, but the effects were opposite to those of social media. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed. Full article
Open AccessArticle
‘We All Work Together to Vaccinate the Child’: A Formative Evaluation of a Community-Engagement Strategy Aimed at Closing the Immunization Gap in North-West Ethiopia
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(4), 667; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15040667 - 03 Apr 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
The role of community engagement (CE) in improving demand for immunization merits investigation. The International Rescue Committee developed a CE strategy to implement a vaccine defaulter-tracing tool and a color-coded health calendar aimed at increasing uptake of immunization services in north-west Ethiopia ( [...] Read more.
The role of community engagement (CE) in improving demand for immunization merits investigation. The International Rescue Committee developed a CE strategy to implement a vaccine defaulter-tracing tool and a color-coded health calendar aimed at increasing uptake of immunization services in north-west Ethiopia (‘The Fifth Child Project’). We report findings from a formative evaluation of this project. In May/June 2016 we conducted 18 participant observations of project activities, 46 semi-structured interviews and 6 focus groups with caregivers, health workers, community members/leaders. Audio-recordings and fieldnotes were transcribed, anonymized, translated and analyzed thematically using inductive and deductive coding. Additional data was collected in November 2016 to verify findings. The project was suitably integrated within the health extension program and established a practical system for defaulter-tracing. The calendar facilitated personalized interactions between health workers and caregivers and was a catalyst for health discussions within homes. At the community level, a regulation exercise of sanctions was observed, which served as a deterrent against vaccine default. Pre-existing community accountability mechanisms supported the CE, although varying levels of engagement between leaders and health workers were observed. The benefits of shared responsibility for immunization were evident; however, more transparency was required about community self-regulatory measures to ensure health-related discussions remain positive. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Parents’ Experience and Views of Vaccinating Their Child against Influenza at Primary School and at the General Practice
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(4), 622; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15040622 - 28 Mar 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to gain an in-depth understanding of parents’ experience and views of vaccinating their four to six-year-old child against influenza at school and at the general practice (GP). A cross-sectional qualitative study was conducted between March–June 2016 with [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to gain an in-depth understanding of parents’ experience and views of vaccinating their four to six-year-old child against influenza at school and at the general practice (GP). A cross-sectional qualitative study was conducted between March–June 2016 with parents of children in Reception and Year 1 in four randomly selected schools in Bury, Leicestershire, and Surrey, England. Twenty-five outreach forms were completed and returned, and seven interviews were conducted. Interview transcripts were coded by theme in NVivo (version 11, QSR International Pty Ltd., Melbourne, Australia). The primary reason parents gave for vaccinating their child was to prevent their child from contracting influenza. Parents’ perceived benefits of vaccinating in schools were to avoid the inconvenience of having to take their child to the GP, and that their child would behave better at school. Parents viewed that accompanying their child for the vaccination at school would undermine the convenience and peer-pressure advantages of the school as a venue. No parents expressed concern about their child being too young to be vaccinated in school. This research suggests that the school is a desirable venue for childhood influenza vaccination, both from the parents’ view and given that influenza vaccination coverage is higher when delivered through schools than GPs. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Exploring Facilitators and Barriers to Initiation and Completion of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine Series among Parents of Girls in a Safety Net System
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(2), 185; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15020185 - 23 Jan 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
Objective: To assess, among parents of predominantly minority, low-income adolescent girls who had either not initiated (NI) or not completed (NC) the HPV vaccine series, attitudes and other factors important in promoting the series, and whether attitudes differed by language preference. Design/Methods: From [...] Read more.
Objective: To assess, among parents of predominantly minority, low-income adolescent girls who had either not initiated (NI) or not completed (NC) the HPV vaccine series, attitudes and other factors important in promoting the series, and whether attitudes differed by language preference. Design/Methods: From August 2013–October 2013, we conducted a mail survey among parents of girls aged 12–15 years randomly selected from administrative data in a Denver safety net system; 400 parents from each group (NI and NC) were targeted. Surveys were in English or Spanish. Results: The response rate was 37% (244/660; 140 moved or gone elsewhere; 66% English-speaking, 34% Spanish-speaking). Safety attitudes of NIs and NCs differed, with 40% NIs vs. 14% NCs reporting they thought HPV vaccine was unsafe (p < 0.0001) and 43% NIs vs. 21% NCs that it may cause long-term health problems (p < 0.001). Among NCs, 42% reported they did not know their daughter needed more shots (English-speaking, 20%, Spanish-speaking 52%) and 39% reported that “I wasn’t worried about the safety of the HPV vaccine before, but now I am” (English-speaking, 23%, Spanish-speaking, 50%). Items rated as very important among NIs in the decision regarding vaccination included: more information about safety (74%), more information saying it prevents cancer (70%), and if they knew HPV was spread mainly by sexual contact (61%). Conclusions: Safety concerns, being unaware of the need for multiple doses, and low perceived risk of infection remain significant barriers to HPV vaccination for at-risk adolescents. Some parents’ safety concerns do not appear until initial vaccination. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Knowledge and Attitudes of General Practitioners and Sexual Health Care Professionals Regarding Human Papillomavirus Vaccination for Young Men Who Have Sex with Men
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(1), 151; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15010151 - 18 Jan 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
Men who have sex with men (MSM) may be at higher risk for human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated cancers. Healthcare professionals’ recommendations can affect HPV vaccination uptake. Since 2016, MSM up to 45 years have been offered HPV vaccination at genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics in [...] Read more.
Men who have sex with men (MSM) may be at higher risk for human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated cancers. Healthcare professionals’ recommendations can affect HPV vaccination uptake. Since 2016, MSM up to 45 years have been offered HPV vaccination at genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics in a pilot programme, and primary care was recommended as a setting for opportunistic vaccination. Vaccination prior to potential exposure to the virus (i.e., sexual debut) is likely to be most efficacious, therefore a focus on young MSM (YMSM) is important. This study aimed to explore and compare the knowledge and attitudes of UK General Practitioners (GPs) and sexual healthcare professionals (SHCPs) regarding HPV vaccination for YMSM (age 16–24). A cross-sectional study using an online questionnaire examined 38 GPs and 49 SHCPs, including 59 (67.82%) females with a mean age of 40.71 years. Twenty-two participants (20 SHCPs, p < 0.001) had vaccinated a YMSM patient against HPV. GPs lack of time (25/38, 65.79%) and SHCP staff availability (27/49, 55.10%) were the main reported factors preventing YMSM HPV vaccination. GPs were less likely than SHCPs to believe there was sufficient evidence for vaccinating YMSM (OR = 0.02, 95% CI = 0.01, 0.47); less likely to have skills to identify YMSM who may benefit from vaccination (OR = 0.03, 95% CI = 0.01, 0.15); and less confident recommending YMSM vaccination (OR = 0.01, 95% CI = 0.00, 0.01). GPs appear to have different knowledge, attitudes, and skills regarding YMSM HPV vaccination when compared to SHCPs. Full article

Review

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Open AccessReview
Maternal Vaccination as an Essential Component of Life-Course Immunization and Its Contribution to Preventive Neonatology
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(5), 847; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15050847 - 25 Apr 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
Maternal immunisation schedules are increasingly coming under the spotlight as part of the development of lifetime immunisation programmes for the role that they play in improving maternal, foetal, and neonatal health. Maternally-acquired antibodies are critical in protecting infants during the first months of [...] Read more.
Maternal immunisation schedules are increasingly coming under the spotlight as part of the development of lifetime immunisation programmes for the role that they play in improving maternal, foetal, and neonatal health. Maternally-acquired antibodies are critical in protecting infants during the first months of their lives. Maternal immunisation was previously overlooked owing to concerns regarding vaccinations in this untested and high-risk population but is now acknowledged for its potential impact on the outcomes in many domains of foetal and neonatal health, aside from its maternal benefits. This article highlights the role that maternal immunisation may play in reducing infections in preterm and term infants. It explores the barriers to antenatal vaccinations and the optimisation of the immunisation uptake. This review also probes the part that maternal immunisation may hold in the reduction of perinatal antimicrobial resistance and the prevention of non-infectious diseases. Both healthcare providers and expectant mothers should continue to be educated on the importance and safety of the appropriate immunizations during pregnancy. Maternal vaccination merits its deserved priority in a life-course immunization approach and it is perhaps the only immunization whereby two generations benefit directly from a single input. We outline the current recommendations for antenatal vaccinations and highlight the potential advances in the field contributing to “preventive neonatology”. Full article
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